Reopening our economy took another big step forward yesterday, when Gov. Charlie Baker cleared the way for childcare, day camps, retail stores, hotels and some other businesses and nonprofits to open as soon as next Monday.
Baker issued a revised list
(starting on page 6) of businesses and nonprofits who could be eligible to reopen
under strict guidelines as soon as next Monday and updated some future phase listings too.
(However just because they can open, doesn't mean they will. Last night Newton announced that none of the city-run programs will operate this summer.
Crystal Lake and Gath Pool will also be closed.)
But mandates for smaller groups, lower child-to-staff ratios, daily temperature checks and more increased cleanings will put financial pressure on
providers and may make finding an available slot hard for parents, policy experts say
On Thursday at 11 a.m. the chamber will host a panel via Zoom of child care providers and policy-makers with early childhood, elementary afterschool
and year-round programs to understand how reopening will work and explore the ongoing challenges this industry faces.
Meanwhile, the new reality for retailers
and shoppers includes limited capacity (eight people per 1000 sq. feet of accessible indoor space, or 40% of the max permitted occupancy, whichever
is greater). Malls must also limit capacity to 40 percent. Food courts, play areas and seating areas may not open. Fitting rooms must remain closed
Grocery stores and pharmacies will also need to follow the newer rules and continue to provide dedicated hours for at risk populations. All retailers
and malls must follow these guidelines
Landlords nervous about missing income
June rent was due yesterday. And some landlords are speaking out against the state’s eviction moratorium laws.
Twenty-two percent of residential landlords surveyed
in late April by MassLandlords
said they didn't think they would be able to pay all of their bills (including taxes, insurance, repairs and mortgage payments) through the end
of the year, WGBH reports
Forty-two percent of respondents said they expected they would have to file one or more evictions
as soon as the state’s eviction moratorium ends on Aug. 18. That could result in as many as 15,000 eviction notices going out in one week, said
Douglas Quattrochi, MassLandlords’s executive director. In a typical year, there are about 30,000 evictions.
Douglas said he estimates 20 percent of rent payments have gone uncollected from landlords since the coronavirus shutdown, resulting in hundreds of
millions of dollars in unpaid rent.
Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium
does not provide funding to pay rent, it simply sidelines the courts, preventing almost all mediation, filing and hearings. Two Massachusetts landlords
have filed a suit claiming the moratorium is unconstitutional, arguing that the legislation unconstitutionally interferes with the domain of the
“The way the law was written was very one-sided and unfair to landlords, mostly smaller landlords that don’t have the ability to just sit and wait
for this to be undone and for courts to open,” one of the their attorneys told Commonwealth Magazine
Riverside D Line to shut down for 18 days
The MBTA will shut down train service on the Green Line's D Branch for a total of 18 days in June, the latest step to accelerate maintenance work while
ridership is low. The closures will happen from June 6 through June 14 and from June 20 through June 28, with shuttle buses deployed during those
The upgrades are designed to make service through Newton more reliable, faster, safer, and, when there are failures, response times faster. Over 21,462
feet of running rail will be replaced as well as turnouts, switches and signal equipment. Free shuttles will run from Riverside to Kenmore. Information
Locations, locations, locations
Massachusetts has dramatically increased testing capacity and remains a national leader in per-capita testing, with a network of 260-plus testing sites.
A new interactive map
provides an easy way to locate a COVID-19 test site, for those experiencing symptoms or those who have been in close contact recently with a COVID-positive
Free 3D printing
Even though the Watertown Free Public Library’s Hatch Makerspace is closed to the public, you can still access Hatch’s 3D printers and laser cutter for free
Starting the week of May 25, Hatch staff will be available to 3D print and laser cut original work submitted online. All you need to do is submit
your design files and arrange for curbside pickup.
Finally….give me 'P'!
If you were to take a look at my laptop keyboard, you’d see that the letter just to the right of the “O” is starting to fade. Why? I blame all those
“PPP” and “PPE” updates.
- As for the PPP: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that the Senate will vote “soon” on a House bill passed last week that would add flexibility to the program. Fingers crossed.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber